Hoppers dominate trout along the Goulburn
  |  First Published: February 2016

The fishing in the upper Goulburn system and tributaries was amazing over the summer holiday period. A lot of the smaller systems have suffered from the typical seasonal summer low flows and higher temperatures that have slowed the fishing on the trout side of things.

The Rubicon and Goulburn rivers have been more than reliable over summer. Although the fish are mostly of the smaller variety in the Rubicon, Steavenson, Acheron and others, there are some quality trout to be had for anglers with a bit of patience, skill and will to get on the water very early in the day, before the summer sun starts to scorch.

The Goulburn has again been an absolute standout, with large numbers of top quality trout encountered regularly. Fish in the 35–45cm range are common and can be enticed to bite quite easily with the right approach. There are decent numbers of brown and rainbow trout that top the 50cm mark if you spend the time to find them. Nearly any area of the Goulburn River, from the Eildon Pondage gates to below Alexandra to Yea that can be accessed will hold fish, some easier to access than others. What surprises me, is that even the most popular and accessible spots continue to produce good fish day after day. It’s a massive blessing in disguise that a lot of the river along this stretch is at best difficult, if not impossible to get to – let alone cast into.

The same selection of lures is doing the job, Rapala CD and the original 5–7cm minnows, Daiwa Double clutch, Berkley T-tails and Z-Man Grubz are all worth a go.

The usual bait of dough, Powerbait, maggots, mudeyes and good old worms are all working well at the moment. The stand out bait over quite a long period this year has been grasshoppers. The ‘hoppers started very early this year and have continued for longer than usual. Floating ‘hoppers along a chosen grassy stretch, and walking along the edge chasing grasshoppers into the water, is an exciting way to fish for trout.

Fly fishers have had an absolute ball chasing trout in the local rivers and streams. As mentioned, the grasshoppers have been plentiful for a prolonged period and trout and trout fishers have made the most of these abundant insects. Obviously, the grasshopper imitations have done the job, but the recent emergence of the willow grubs will make tying an imitation grub a very worthy exercise.

The Eildon Pondage had a timely visit from Santa late in December with a range of fish from ‘catchable’ 300g fish, to 1kg whoppers, alongside ex-brood brown and rainbows of 3–5kg. Some of these fish and the resident fish are still caught and regular stockings ensure the Pondage will always be worth a look for any fisher in the area. You can’t go past the local dough, Powerbait, mudeyes, worms and brightly coloured Tassie devils (pink, orange, lime green) to have an encounter with these big pondage monsters.

Stay safe and enjoy the area.

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